This is a statement from a group called “We need unity – defend the Millbank protestors”.
We need unity to break the Con-Dems’ attacks
Stand with the protesters against victimisation
Wednesday’s national NUS/UCU 50,000 strong national demonstration was a magnificent show of strength against the Con Dems’ savage attacks on education. The Tories want to make swingeing cuts, introduce £9,000 tuition fees and cut EMA. These attacks will close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.
During the demonstration over 5,000 students showed their determination to defend the future of education by occupying the Tory party HQ and its courtyards for several hours. The mood was good-spirited, with chants, singing and flares.
Yet at least 32 people have now been arrested, and the police and media appear to be launching a witch-hunt condemning peaceful protesters as “criminals” and violent.
A great deal is being made of a few windows smashed during the protest, but the real vandals are those waging a war on our education system.
We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement.
We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended. It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration to many workers and students in Britain faced with such a huge assault on jobs, benefits, housing and the public sector.
We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.
A “selected list” of signatories can be read here.
Yay! Stand up for violence!
Elsewhere, some Goldsmiths lecturers are very proud of the thuggery.
The National Union of Students and the academics’ body the University and College Union, who organised the 52,000-strong march through London, described the violence at Millbank as “deplorable” and “despicable”.
But the Goldsmiths lecturers dismissed the criticism, saying: “We wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by the UCU and NUS leadership concerning the occupation of the Conservative Party HQ.
“The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts and privatisation that will follow if tuition fees are increased.”
David Graeber, an anthropology lecturer at Goldsmiths who was among the protestors, said he was “very proud” of the students, adding: “They are going to represent us as thugs but really they are the thugs and we are representing civilisation.”
Mr Cooper denied being one of the ringleaders of the attack on Millbank, but said: “We want to send a really strong message to this Government that we are not going to let higher education be brutalised.
“There are a number of different Government buildings in that part of London and all of them would have been legitimate targets for protest and occupation.
“There was a lot of anger. There has always been the plan for…direct action after the NUS demo.”
Isn’t mob rule over “legitimate targets” just beautiful.